Featured Difference between the Worship Service and the Rest of Life

Discussion in 'Worship' started by De Jager, Dec 1, 2019 at 3:45 PM.

  1. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    Good afternoon,

    I have a question about the regulative principle of worship (RPW). What is the biblical basis for separating the worship service (i.e. between the call to worship and the benediction) from the rest of life? I am not trying to start any kind of fight, I am truly curious and wanting to learn. What makes the RPW apply only to the worship service and not to the rest of life?
  2. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

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  3. smalltown_puritan

    smalltown_puritan Puritan Board Freshman

    This is a very good and pertinent question - the Zeitgeist of modern evangelicalism has so greatly deconstructed both the doctrines of worship and vocation that oft we are left with neither.

    A simple answer, to which the brothers here on the board will likely add great depth and clarity, is this: when the word worship is used in the original languages, often the word truly means to prostrate or do some act of homage. One cannot, then, ‘worship’ and do other things at the same time because, by definition, worship entails the whole attention of both body and soul.

    Therefore, we distinguish between what it is to worship God in secret, our family or the congregation (which is solely by His prescription) and to glorify him with all our faculties at all times (which is according to both the commands of his Word and the light of Christian prudence/general principles therein).
  4. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    The separation u speak of is flawed. The separation is when worship is invoked. This to include, corporate, family or personal.
  5. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    Is prayer while walking still regulated by God's word? I think the solution here is that worship ideally requires full occupation of body and soul, but attempts to draw near to God to worship him do not require the full occupation of body and soul (and sometimes, like praying while walking, not sinful).
  6. smalltown_puritan

    smalltown_puritan Puritan Board Freshman

    There is a distinguishment between prayer of the saints in the assembly, in our families or in secret, and that prayer which is extemporaneous. The former, as I understand it, finds various principial regulations in Scripture (see Directory of Publick Worship, Directory of Family Worship, and the WSC/WLC on the Lord's Prayer) and is distinct from extemporaneous prayer. The latter, which is also required of the believer (1 Thessalonians v.17, 'Pray continually') is honouring unto the Lord in rendering love and obedience, but is not 'worship' in the sense of the Biblical word.

    In other words, worship is intentional and formal - one does not worship by mere happenstance; it is set aside to the Lord. Living in obedience and for God's glory is perpetual and ongoing.
  7. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Junior

    But if this extemporaneous prayer is not "worship," then it would seem to me to be regulated by a normative principle? So one could add various ceremonies (maybe making a sign of the cross) while making extemporaneous prayer. How would you parse this problem? Going beyond prayer, it would seem that any religious ceremony could be invented and performed to God, so long as there was some distraction of body or soul (because unless both body and soul were occupied, it would not be considered "worship").

    I do agree that worship is intentional, and one cannot "accidentally" worship God.
  8. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    Hope you are doing well! To try and answer:

    Most clearly the 2nd commandment. The 2nd commandment carves out worship from the "rest" of life as you say. There is a belief at large in evangelicalism that says something to the effect of "all of life is Worship". If this idea is brought to logical conclusions, it gets weird and it gets weird fast. I think this faulty ideology fails and misunderstands the biblical truth that God will be glorified in all things.

    Eating a piece of cheese toast can be done in a God honoring way (aka moderation), but nailing the art of making melty goodness is not worship according to how our Lord defines the worship he is due. Another example is my secular vocation. I can glorify God at work, but my diligence and accomplishments at work should not to be called worship, as it does not meet God's definition.

    So while all of life should be carried out in service and glorification to God
    (1 Corinthians 10:31), not all of life is worship.

    Also see this post:

    And this thread (this answers your exact question very clearly):

    Last edited: Dec 2, 2019 at 2:23 PM
  9. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Grant - hope you are doing well also.

    I have been talking to my pastor about this subject. He pointed out that in Romans 12:1 we are exhorted to offer our bodies as living sacrifices "which is your spiritual worship". So does this verse not teach us that all of life is worship? I know the translation can be debated.
  10. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    A good question.

    A good answer: https://www.puritanboard.com/threads/is-everything-done-to-gods-glory-worship.8157/#post-108144
  11. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    @De Jager

    Another very practical example. During homeschool I can teach my daughter how to paint on a canvas as we look at a bird in the front yard or I could teach her the art of wood carving and we could carve a wooden sword (or pipe:detective:).

    However, if I took that tree painting or that wooden sword and used it in anyway for worship, it would clearly violate the 2nd commandment.
  12. smalltown_puritan

    smalltown_puritan Puritan Board Freshman

    You bring up an interesting point, which has made me have to ponder this for a few days. I do believe prayer must be regulated by the Word of God - whether that is in the context of worship, or in the context of every day life. To add ceremony to prayer (as you mentioned, making the sign of the cross) I think would be in violation of the Lord's prohibition of pagan rituals in prayer to seek the attention/approval of God. Matthew vi.7, 'Also when ye pray, use no vain repetitions as the Heathen: for they think to be heard for their much babbling'. I think it would be a 'good and necessary consequence' to deduce a principle of vain repetitions not only of speech but also of the body.

    Here is the simple breakdown of where I am at, and perhaps, brother, you can help me to understand better if I am in error: Prayer is an element of worship. Worship is regulated by the prescription of God's Word alone. Worship is set aside from the every-moment command to 'work heartily unto the Lord'. Christians are commanded to pray continually, though we do not 'worship' (in the formal sense as we are discussing) without ceasing. Yet, prayer and any act of devotion outside of secret, family, and public worship is governed by the principle of prohibition. So any superstitious ceremony done, even outside of the realm of worship, is idolatry based on the prohibitions of the first/second commandments, as well as the prohibition found in Matthew vi.7.
  13. De Jager

    De Jager Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with the gist of what you are saying here. I do believe prayer is an act of worship. After all, we read in Luke 2:37, Anna "served God with fastings and prayers". I think all prayers no matter whether they are in corporate worship or private must be done in accordance with the guidelines and principles found in the Bible. With that said, there are differences between private or familial worship and corporate worship. For example in corporate worship it would not be right for a woman to pray over the assembled congregation.

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